HUGO, Okla. (KFOR) — Of all the improvements that have been installed to the city’s water treatment system over the past two years, a new water tower is the most obvious.

It’s a half-million-gallon tank towering over the central district.

It lights up at night, and it’s now almost fully functional.

Water Dept. Director Albert McClain has watched progress on the hilltop installation site closer than just about anyone in town.

He was charged with keeping the system running even as the old tower went out.

The project, he chuckles, “Really educated me.”

City Manager Leah Savage kept watch too from her office at City Hall.

Of course, the project proved more expensive and took longer that previously expected.

“It was one of those things that needed to be done,” she insists.

But toward the end, she got a perk from the company that installed the tower.

They asked for color schemes and design ideas.

“Everybody does black letters,” she thought.

Savage got right to work with a pen and sketch pad.

She originally thought an all-black tower might look good.

“But with water tanks, you don’t want to make a tower black.”

In the end, she came up with a white color palette with black and gold highlights, Hugo High School colors, and a Buffalo head mascot at the center of the design.

“I love it,” says Savage. “It’s very bold.”

It ended up looking pretty good.

“Good feedback,” she says of citizen response so far.

So good, the Tnemec Company nominated the structure, along with 320 other new towers, for an award they called ‘Tank of the Year.’

Savage says, “We were excited about that.”

Among those chosen from all over the U.S., Hugo’s made the top 12 and a runner-up to the eventual winner in Bryan, Ohio, which boasted a DumDum sucker theme.

She smiles, “It is one of those distinctions that we’re so happy to be part of.”

Hugo has another water tower in like for replacement in coming years, perhaps marking another chance for an award that really holds water.

The Hugo tower will be featured on a 2024 calendar including the other winning towers.


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To get a look at some of the others chosen, go to the Tank of the Year website.

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